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  • Shawn Thornton

The Danger of Apathy and Indifference

Saturday - March 6th

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 4:11-17


Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do

and then not do it.

James 4:17 NLT

Roughly three to five percent of the world's population has an apathy toward music known as "musical anhedonia." The word “anhedonia” is from the Greek and means, “without pleasure.” The brains of these people are biologically incapable of responding to any music whatsoever. This condition is also referred to as "specific musical anhedonia." It is very different from "general anhedonia." General anhedonia is the inability to feel any kind of pleasure, often associated with clinical depression.

There's nothing inherently off for those with musical anhedonia. Their indifference to music isn't a source of depression or suffering of any kind. Some with this condition say they suffer because they are mocked continuously by friends who are music lovers.

Research over the years shows that the vast majority of people who regularly enjoy music show an increased heart rate and skin conductance. As I understand it, skin conductance is where a person's skin temporarily becomes a conductor of electricity in response to something they find stimulating. Musical anhedonics, however, show no such physiological change to music. They are emotionally, intellectually, and physiologically indifferent to music of any kind.

I have known people who just were not that into music, but I don't think I have ever met someone indifferent or apathetic toward music. Maybe you have a friend, loved one, or neighbor who has "specific musical anhedonia." Perhaps we all know folks with the condition, but they don't realize they have it.

Apathy toward music is one thing. I guess those who have it do not know what they are missing. Spiritual apathy or indifference is much different and very dangerous.

James 4:17 says, "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." God's Word leaves no room for the follower of Christ to be indifferent to what we know we are commanded to do. Jesus told the disciples in the upper room the night before He was crucified, "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" (John 13:17).

Christ calls us to a life of engagement with and obedience to His Word. Obedience is not optional. Spiritual apathy and indifference is sin.

Have you grown indifferent to the things of the Lord? Have you become apathetic toward God's Word, prayer, worship, or serving others in Jesus' name? If you answer either question with a "yes," take steps today to engage the Lord and His church. Open your eyes and your heart to the Scriptures. Talk to God. Join an online worship service this weekend!

Indifference and apathy bring great danger to the Christian life! Stay engaged with Christ and His church!


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